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Sir Gawain

Gawain is King Arthur's nephew and a Knight of the Round Table who appears very early in the Arthurian legend's development. He is one of a select number of Round Table members to be referred to as one of the greatest knights, most notably in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He is almost always portrayed as the son of Arthur's sister Morgause (or Anna) and King Lot of Orkney and Lothian, and his brothers are Agravain, Gaheris, Gareth, and Mordred. He was well known to be the most trustworthy friend of Sir Lancelot. In some works he has sisters as well. According to some legends, he would have been the true and rightful heir to the throne of Camelot, after the reign of King Arthur. Gawain is often portrayed as a formidable, compassionate, and a courteous warrior, fiercely loyal to his king and family. He is a friend to young knights, a defender of the poor, and as "the Maidens' Knight", a defender of women as well. In some works, his strength waxes and wanes with the sun; in the most common form of this motif, his might triples by noon, but fades as the sun sets. His knowledge of herbs makes him a great healer, and he is credited with at least three children: Florence, Lovell, andGingalain, the last of which is also called Libeaus Desconus or Le Bel Inconnu, the Fair Unknown. In later Welsh Arthurian literature, Gawain is considered synonymous with the native champion Gwalchmei. Gawain appears in English, French and Celtic literature as well as in Italy where he appears in the architecture of the north portal in the cathedral of Modena, constructed in 1184. Gawain becomes best known for his unquenchable desire for vengeance on Lancelot, who accidentally kills two of Gawains brothers. The two former friends eventually do battle, and Gawain is mortally wounded. After he dies at the city of Dover, most tales say that his body is taken back to King Arthurs castle, Camelot, for burial. In Le morte dArthur (1469-1470; The Death of Arthur) by English writer Sir Thomas Malory, Gawain is buried not at Camelot but at Dover, after which he appears to Arthur in a dream to beg the king not to do battle with Mordred, Arthur's illegitimate son.

Sir Lancelot
Sir Lancelot was the son of King Ban of Benwick (possibly Guenet in Brittany) by his wife Elaine. After his father's death, he was left near a lake by his mother and was taken in by the mystical Lady of the Lake who raised him. When he grew up, Sir Lancelot travelled to the British Royal Court and set up home at Castle Joyous Guard (Bamburgh Castle) in Northern Britain. He became King Arthur's trusted companion and a Knight of the Round Table. Unfortunately however, he fell in love with Queen Guinevereand commenced a prolonged affair with her. When Guinevere was abducted by King Meleagant of the Summer Country (Glastenning), Lancelot pursued him in a cart, a humble mode of conveyance in which the knight was reluctant to travel. The two fought, but the villains father pleaded with Guinevere to spare Meleagants life. So their combat was stopped. After further insults however, Lancelot eventually slew him at Arthur's court. Sir Lancelot was also the object of the affections of Elaine the Lily Maid of Astolat (supposedly Guildford) who died of a broken heart when he rejected her. An old story tells how, while visiting her father, Lancelot went riding in Windsor Forest. He fell asleep by St. Leonards Well (in the grounds of Legoland), just as a lady and her hunting party arrived chasing a deer. She immediately shot the poor knight in the buttocks and rode off! Another Elaine was the daughter of King Pelles of Ebrauc (York) and, when Lancelot stayed with them, the family nurse arranged for their illustrious guest to sleep with Elaine, whom he mistook for Guinevere. As a result, Sir Galahad was conceived. When this happened a second time, Guinevere discovered the pair in flagrante delicto and sent Lancelot packing. The lovers were, however, soon reunited. Years later, Sir Galahad arrived at court. He was knighted by his father and the Grail Quest began. During this adventure, Galahad outshone his father. Sir Lancelot was unable to succeed because of his sinful relationship with Guinevere, despite his promise to end the affair and to perform acts of penance. When he tried to approach the Holy Grail, he was knocked unconscious. Lancelot and Guinevere were eventually discovered together by the evil Sir Mordred. Sir Lancelot fled, but returned to rescue Guinevere from being burnt at the stake. He killed Sirs Agravaine, Gaheris and Gareth in the process. War between him and King Arthur followed but was broken off when the the latter had to return to Britain to deal with Sir Mordred's rebellion.

Sir Galahad
Sir Galahad was the illegitimate son of Sir Lancelot by Lady Elaine of Corbenic. He was placed under the care his paternal great aunt and grew up at the nunnery where she was abbess. Upon reaching adulthood, his father knighted him and took him to Camelot. At the Royal Court, Galahad sat in the Siege Perilous - the seat reserved by God for the purest of knights - yet no calamity befell him. Like Arthur had done so many years before, he then drew a sword from a stone which bore a message declaring him to be the Worlds best knight! He was immediately welcomed to the Order of the Round Table and was present at the vision of the Grail, when he was chosen as one of those to seek this holiest of relics. Galahad left on his quest with a shield made by King Evelake and painted with a red cross of blood by St. Joseph of Arimathea. This was joined by King Davids sword when he met up with Sirs Bors, Percivale and the latters sister. Upon the ladys death, the trio split up and, for a while, Galahad traveled with his father, visiting King Evelake together. Back with Bors and Percivale, the three arrived at Castle Corbenic and together they found the Holy Grail. Galahad cured the Maimed King there of his ailment by anointing him with blood from the Dolorous Spear and the spirit of St. Joseph of Arimathea appeared and celebrated mass with the three. A vision of Christ then told Galahad how he would have more time with the Grail in the country of Sarras. So the knights left Corbenic and sailed for Sarras; and the Grail appeared to them once more onboard ship. Upon arrival, the pagan King Estorause threw them in prison; but the Grail sustained them and, when the King died, Galahad was able to take control of the country. A year later St. Joseph of Arimathea appeared to him with the Grail once more. Galahad celebrated mass and, having reached his lifelong goal, asked that he should be allowed to die. This he did in peace. The origins of Galahads character are uncertain. The name may be taken from the Palestinian location, Gilead, or he may be connected with Welsh characters, such as Gwalhafed or St. Illtud.

Sir Percival
Percival or Perceval is one of King Arthur's legendary Knights of the Round Table. In Welsh literature his story is allotted to the historical Peredur. He is most famous for his involvement in the quest for the grail. Chrtien de Troyes wrote the first story of Perceval, le Conte du Graal; Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival, Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur, and the now lost Perceval of Robert de Boron are other famous accounts of his adventures. There are many versions of Perceval's birth. In most accounts he is of noble birth; his father is either King Pellinore or another worthy knight. His mother is usually unnamed but plays a significant role in the stories. His sister is the bearer of the Holy Grail, she is sometimes named Dindrane. In tales where he is Pellinore's son his brothers are Sir Aglovale, Sir Lamorak and Sir Dornar, and by his father's affair with a peasant woman he also has a halfbrother named Sir Tor. After the death of his father, Perceval's mother takes him to the Welsh forests where she raises him ignorant to the ways of men until the age of 15. Eventually, however, a group of knights passes through his wood, and Perceval is struck by their heroic bearing. Wanting to be a knight himself, the boy travels to King Arthur's court, and after proving his worthiness as a warrior he is knighted and invited to join the Knights of the Round Table. In the earliest story about him he is connected to the grail. In Chrtien de Troyes' Perceval, the Story of the Grail, he meets the crippled Fisher King and sees a grail, not yet identified as "holy", but he fails to ask a question that would have healed the injured king. Upon learning of his mistake he vows to find the Grail castle again and fulfill his quest but Chretien's story breaks off soon after, to be continued in a number of different ways by various authors. In later accounts, the true Grail hero is Galahad, Lancelot's son. But though his role in the romances had been diminished, Percival remained a major character and was one of only two knights (the other was Sir Bors) who accompanied Galahad to the Grail castle and completed the quest with him. In early versions, Perceval's sweetheart was Blanchefleur and he became the King of Carbonek after healing the Fisher King, but in later versions he was a virgin who died after achieving the Grail. In Wolfram's version, Perceval's son is Lohengrin, the Knight of the Swan.